Belvoir’s Feminazi: digital, dramatic, droll and dark
Intertwining the digital and the tangible, Feminazi attempts to critique man-hating lesbians in a tongue-in-cheek manner, coming to the conclusion that intersectionality is necessary and nothing is as clear cut as it seems.
Belvoir’s Feminazi, directed by Danielle Maas and written by Laneikka Denne, is billed as ‘darkly iconic and funny af’. Exposing the dark parts of the queer experience, the show is an exploration of feminism, queerness, internalised misogyny, trauma and guilt. Despite this, the show maintains an absurdly comedic tone, delving into the darkest parts of its sole character with its tongue-in-cheek humour.
The screen, hanging behind the tiny stage, serves to underline the sensory overload of the entire play. The show begins with the word ‘Feminazi’ written in different fonts flashing across the screen, overwhelming the audience from the first second. The play begins with Zan (Ziggy Resnick) stitching the word ‘Feminazi’ into their skin. We delve into their troubled relationship with their father during their father’s funeral, to which Zan invites ‘hundreds of naked women’ to swarm the casket. It’s later, at the Imperial where Zan is hosting the wake, that the structure of the play becomes clearer.
The audience is afforded limited insight into the actual reality of Zan’s life. Instead, Zan almost constantly live streams their life via Instagram, projected onto the screen at the back of the stage. We descend into their sex life, cleverly represented by a model house, as they start to panic over being misgendered as a man (they are simply a masc lesbian, and “men don’t own masculinity”) and reject their girlfriend’s offer to top them.
With a confusing mix of intense man hatred, gender dysphoria, instagram personalities and witchcraft, the play delves into the absurd and the surreal. Zan vows to kill all men, performing rituals via live stream to kill all men, and then all people until they are the only one left. They have conversations with their dead parents via Facebook psychics, parents played by the same actor in a derivative of Kip Williams’ Dorian Grey as the actor converses with theirself through the screen.
The digital elements of the production, though well executed, served as little more than title cards for most of the play. The use of the screen to hold conversations between Zan and their parents was well executed, however the constant powerpoint graphics in the intervening sequences felt overused.
Clarity was provided by Zan’s (ex?) girlfriend Angie (Shayne De Groot), who interjects to supply a line of questioning that challenges Zan’s confused morals. While this allowed a continuation of the plot and a tether to temporal progression, it served as a kind of deus-ex-machina to neatly wrap up the moving parts of the play towards the end.
Despite the absurdism, the play does reach satisfying conclusions about gender, queerness and womanhood. Confronted with the imagined reality of attempting to kill all men but resorting to killing all people, Zan comes to realise that gender isn’t as tied to biology as they previously thought. They then come out to their now ex-girlfriend as genderfluid.
Overall, Feminazi tries to do a lot. Intertwining the digital and the tangible, it attempts to critique man-hating lesbians in a tongue-in-cheek manner, coming to the conclusion that intersectionality is necessary and nothing is as clear cut as it seems. Nonetheless, the comedy was well executed in an otherwise absurd and nonsensical play.